At 6.30 a.m. on OCTOBER 14th, 1904, Charles Gillingham was delivering newspapers in Commercial Road, Stepney, when he was surprised to see the door was open at a small shop owned by 65-year-old Miss Matilda Farmer.
The police were informed, and they found her corpse lying face-down on her bed. Her hands had been tied behind her back and a towel had been wrapped firmly around her mouth.
Robert Rae, a fishmongers assistant of Old Church Road, Stepney, told the police that in the early hours of that morning he saw two men come out of Miss Farmers shop. He knew one of them well and named him, and as a result two men were arrested. They were Conrad Donovan, a 34-year-old sailor of Church Road, Limehouse, and his half-brother Charles Wade, a 22-year-old labourer living in Grosvenor Street, Ratcliff.
After further inquiries both were charged with murdering Miss Farmer in the course of a burglary. On November 21st their three-day trial ended with their conviction and they were sentenced to death. Three weeks later, on December 13th, 1904, they were hanged together at Pentonville Prison by William Billington, assisted by Henry Pierrepoint.